The FIDE Women’s Grand Prix, concluded in Tehran, Iran, on the 23rd of February, 2016.
Going in to the final three games of the tournament, Nana Dzagnidze led with 6½ points from 8 games. Unfortunately she was unable to build on this lead. Having a bad final stage, the Georgian lost her final 3 games, to Cramling, Ju and Pogonina. As a result, she would stay on 6½.
Natalia Pogonina had been an early leader, but from there had not really been in the mix. She was obviously hoping for a final stage surge. Unfortunately, she didn’t get it and would only score a point from her final three games. Her win over Dzagnidze would be muted somewhat with losses to Zhao and Zhukova.
The top performers of the final stage were Natalia Zhukova and Humpy Koneru, who scored 2½ points from the 3 games. Nino Batsiashvili, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and Wenjun Ju were just behind on 2-points.
All of this meant that Wenjun Ju, having been a point off the lead after round 8, leapfrogged Dzagnidze to win the tournament outright, with 7½/11. It was a very narrow finish in the end, with Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and Xue Zhao just a half point from taking the event to tie-breaks. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, as the youngest competitor in the field, at just 19-years-of-age, must be very satisfied with her tournament, even with the disappointment of just missing out. With victories over Zhao and Stefanova in the final part of the tournament, she improved her situation very admirably and shows great promise for the future in my opinion.
As it is, Wenjun Ju, as winner, collects the spoils and is in contention to go forward to challenge for the Women’s World Chess Championship. Crucial to this, was her round-10 win, over former tournament leader, Nana Dzagnidze, (given below).
Final Standings: Wenjun Ju — 7½; Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, Xue Zhao — 7.0; Natalia Pogonina, Nana Dzagnidze — 6½; Humpy Koneru — 6; Natalia Zhukova — 5½; Dronavalli Harika, Valentina Gunina — 4½; Pia Cramling — 4; Antoaneta Stefanova, Nino Batsiashvili — 3½.